With the arrival of our puppy Frank back in 2020, planning a trip has become a little more complicated. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. On the few occasions we went away, Frank had been good as gold and did not moan (well, initial car sickness aside, but fingers crossed, we seem to have overcome that by now). And Frank loves the water. Be it a lake, a muddy puddle, or the bathtub. So, as soon as the weather started to warm up last spring (and we were finally allowed to leave the house again), we decided to treat the pup and head to the seaside for the day. And gosh, did that go wrong… we were so naïve to think we could just show up and take doggy to the beach. But no, that would have been far too easy.
So, to save you the same embarrassment (and disappointed look from your pup) I’ve compiled a list of dog friendly beaches in England, tried and tested by our little dachshund.
This list of dog friendly beaches in England is by no means complete. These are just the ones we have been to. There will be loads more (and I might add a few more over time, whenever we find more dog beaches in England)
Dog beaches in England: Southend on Sea
With Southend being perfect day trip distance from London, we decided to head there for Frankie’s first beach experience back in May. But we went there on a whim, completely unprepared. Had we actually done our homework, we would have known that Southend on Sea does not allow dogs on the beaches from 1st May until 30th September.
Initially we still had hopes that there might be a dog friendly section a little further down, away from the pier and main town. But turns out, Southend does not have a dog beach anywhere. What a disappointment for the pup, who could see the water and the beach, but wasn’t allowed to go and play.
However, although there are no dog beaches in Southend-on-Sea, there is one nearby in Canvey Island. Thorney Bay Beach might not be quite as wide and inviting as the Southend beach, but it did the trick for the little pup (and plenty of other dogs).
Dog friendly beaches in England: Sandown / Isle of Wight
After the disappointment of our Southend on Sea beach experience (or non-beach experience), we were warned for our trip to the Isle of Wight. But turns out, there are some wonderful beaches on the island, that do allow dogs all year round.
We headed to Sandown for the day. And whilst the area directly by the pier and town centre does not allow dogs in summer, as soon as you pass the pier, dogs are free to roam and run along the beach and into the water. And so, they did.
Some of the cafes along the beach even offer dog treats (including doggy ice cream).
For the ultimate dog beach experience, head to Yaverland Beach, just outside Sandown. A sandy beach (time it well to go during low tide, otherwise the beach will be a very narrow strip) below the cliffs. And dogs are allowed all year round, not just out of season. Frank was in absolute heaven here, running in and out of the water and playing in the sand.
Dog friendly beaches in England: Eastbourne
Our next England staycation was a weekend trip to Sussex. In true British Summer style, the weather was anything but exciting, so we didn’t really spend much time at the beach. But we did check out if dogs were allowed or not and Frank did dip a paw or two into the sea.
The area directly by the pier (and the pier itself) does not allow dogs on the beach between May and September (between Eastbourne Pier and the Wish Tower), but everywhere else is fair game for dogs all year round. And the pup seemed to be a lot less bothered by the pebbles than we were. He just hopped up and down the pebbled slopes regardless.
Dog beaches in England: Whitstable
As part of our weekend trip to the south coast, we also went to Whistable for a day before heading back towards London. The weather still wasn’t any better, so no actual beach time for us. But as dog was a lot less bothered about getting wet from above and below than we were, he explored the beach regardless. And I am happy to report that dogs are allowed on Whistable Beach all year round. On the adjacent Tankerton Beach dogs are restricted and won’t have access between May and September though.
Dog friendly beaches in England: Weston-super-Mare
Our most recent England staycation was a trip to Somerset. And as part of that, we went to Weston-super-Mare for the day. Unlike the Sussex trip, it was actually rather sunny that day. We didn’t do a full beach day. But we at least took off our shoes and joined Frank on the beach. So yes, dogs are allowed on the beach. Or at least some areas of the beach. We started our Weston-super-Mare at Royal Sands and Uphill Beach, which did allow dogs. And Frank had a good run around with other dogs and in and out of the water. But be warned, although it is a sandy ground, that beach is very very muddy. Frank looked an absolute mess by the time we left. Unfortunately, I couldn’t spot any showers nearby to actually get him cleaned up properly. So a rub down with his towel had to suffice.
The adjacent Weston Bay (stretching all the way to the pier) does not allow dogs over summer, but once you get past the pier, dogs are allowed again.
The pier itself does not allow dogs. But since they also charge £1 admission to enter the pier, I couldn’t be bothered, with or without dog.
Dog friendly beaches in England: Skegness
One of the best dog friendly beaches we’ve been to so far was Skegness in Lincolnshire. A 3 hour-drive, Skegness might be too far for a day trip from London, but it is perfect for a weekend getaway.
Skegness has wide, sandy beaches. And a small section of beach near the pier aside, dogs are allowed on the beach all year round.
Dog friendly beaches in England: Cromer + North Norfolk
I’m glad to report that we have tried and tested another beach along the English coast. After a weekend in North Norfolk, we can definitely recommend Cromer, as well as East and West Runton for a beach trip with your pooch.
There are some minor restrictions in place in the summer months. But we are really only talking a small section either side of Cromer pier. The rest of the beach is fair game. You and your dog can spend the entire day in the water and on the beach (which we did). And we are talking endless sandy beach here, hardly a pebble in sight.
I must say that Cromer has by far been the best dog friendly seaside location we’ve been to. Not just because dogs are allowed almost anywhere on the beach (including on the actual pier for a change). But also a lot of the shops and restaurants allowed dogs and there were water bowls everywhere. Much to Frankie’s delight, we found several places selling doggy ice cream. There even is an entire doggie diner in Cromer (in case you fancy some cakes and coffee after all that tiring beach fun).
As I said earlier, this is not a definite list of dog beaches in England. These are merely our findings, based on our first summer with dog. I guess we will add to this list as and when we venture out more, so stay tuned for that.
Meanwhile, can you recommend any other dog friendly beaches in England? Which one is your absolute favourite?